So this post might get some negative reaction. It’s certainly very easy for “off islanders” to come and be critical about the local Caribbean environment. But, after hanging round Joost Van Dyke for a day or so, something doesn’t seem quite right in paradise.
We came to Foxy’s on Joost Van Dyke I think three years ago. I actually bought two postcards by a local artist and they have been up in my office as a daily reminder of the idea of pulling up here in our own sailboat rather than a charter boat.
Looking around, things seem so very familiar. So very, very familiar. But somehow there seems to be a thin facade that if you scratch past, things are looking a bit lost in paradise. I took some photos of what might be under that surface. Overflowing trashcans, rusted chains, fallen timbers, sharp broken reinforced concrete, signs for wetlands with a decaying pickup full of trash next to it. I think some of these things, the broken down boats, for example, were still here three years ago!
I have two voices whispering in my ears. One is critical. It says that the locals that live here on the island don’t care about these things. They just see easy money by selling yet another painkiller to another boater in the bar that is run down, but looks ok in the dark. The other is guilt ridden. It whispers that I am just another arrogant white tourist showing up in a boat worth more than several families collective income. The locals don’t have any choice, or means, to do things differently.
I don’t know though. You do find places where there seems to be some pride. The bakery in Great Harbor boasts a clean swept floor, well maintained screen doors and fresh paint. Foxy’s by comparison lingers on through a reputation based in drunk people having a fun time. They aren’t seeing the layers and cake of dirt on the bra swinging in the the wind in the rafters. They don’t know the trash can hasn’t been emptied in two days. They are seeing it all for the first time.
It seems that these two experiences, and locals are two views of the same thing but from different perspectives. The charterer, who we have been, coming to each of hugest places once. To have a good time, usually in the dark, and then then to dinghy back drunk to their boats (don’t even get me started about the huge brightly lit catamaran pumping out massively loud music till 2am in White Bay last night).
Or are we the cruiser? The sailer who stays and wants to see the local environment thrive, and improve.
The question is, what, as cruisers can we do. Skip the painkiller and buy from the local bakery?
All these photos were taken walking along the sandy road that is the “main street” of Great Harbor.